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Trade policy

Monika Singh
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TRADE policy frameworks provide opportunities to Forum Island Countries and a holistic analysis of challenges to a given FIC's integration into global trade and proposes practical pathways to overcome such challenges, says Shiu Raj, director programs and initiatives, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Mr Raj said an important element of the TPFs were the associated implementation matrices, which put a yardstick to the gradual implementation of the TPFs.

His comments were made at the opening of a two-day Regional Trade Mainstreaming Workshop in Nadi yesterday.

Discussions at this workshop focused on practical aspects of trade mainstreaming, seeking to build on each other's experiences in this area, and to discuss the best practices based on lessons learnt over time.

"While the regional work on TPFs has been part of our work program for about a decade, the acknowledgement that there was a need for a concerted effort in augmenting our capacity to formulate comprehensive trade and investment facilitation policy frameworks was formally registered about two decades ago as the region commenced initiatives to gradually become part of the global trading systems," said Mr Raj.

He said a key feature of the journey was the joint collaboration of a number of development partners and technical agencies to advance the trade development agenda of the FICs, through the establishment of TPFs and other similar instruments to inform decision making on trade and development.

"For example, some FIC-World Trade Organisation members are linking their Trade Policy Review (TPR) process to the review of the implementation of their TPFs."

Mr Raj said the TPFs had introduced a new dimension of inclusiveness in trade policy development and implementation through the National Trade Development/Facilitation Committees or similar entities.

"The establishment of NTDCs has opened wider doors for all stakeholder groups — private sector, civil society and government agencies — to engage in collective decision making."

He said as the FICs mature in the management of trade and investment policies, they move away from capacity building and start focusing on capacity supplementation.

"In partnership with our development partners, including the EU through the TradeComII project, PIFS has developed a trade mainstreaming guide to assist FICs effectively implement and mainstream trade into National Development Plans/Strategies.

"It is based on our experiences and best practice with a particular focus on the Pacific context.

"Our discussions at this workshop will focus on very practical aspects of trade mainstreaming, seeking to build on each other's experiences in this area, and to discuss the best practices based on lessons learnt over time," he said.

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